A DRUG user who turned street dealer was caught out when he sold a heroin wrap to an undercover police officer.

Police launched an operation to target dealers after complaints of low-level drug peddling in streets around Darlington town centre in late 2018.

Durham Crown Court was told it included undercover officers posing as users buying from dealers operating in the area.

Chris Wood, prosecuting, said it brought a result on December 19, when an officer bought a £10 ‘deal’ from Lee Steven Bamber.

While forensic results were awaited on the wrap, the now 34-year-old defendant was on bail pending investigation.

Dr Wood said Bamber then took part in a burglary at the offices of domestic violence charity Harbour Support Services.

A support worker arrived at work on March 22 to discover the rear door forced at the Duke Street premises, in Darlington.

On checking, it was found that in an untidy search was made of the offices from where £100 appeared to have been taken.

Dr Wood said a DNA match with Bamber came from a glove left at the scene. An abandoned crow bar was also recovered.

Bamber, formerly of Longfield Road, Darlington, admitted both the burglary and class A drug supply at a magistrates’ appearance, on December 20.

His case was adjourned for sentence at the crown court earlier this month, but the defendant failed to appear and was brought from the cells after his arrest on a bench warrant.

The court was told he has 16 convictions for 30 offences, including one for class A drug supply, for which he was jailed for two years, as part of an overall four-year prison sentence, imposed in January 2012.

David Lamb, mitigating, told the court: “The defendant has the antecedent history and the physical appearance of someone who has been ravaged by drugs over a significant period of time.

Mr Lamb said although he found work as a roofer on leaving school, Bamber, “fell into the well-worn path”, of drinking heavily, taking cannabis and working up the scale of drug abuse to heroin misuse.

He was recalled to prison because of the crimes in May last year and was only released on January 7 but had no accommodation and so stayed with a friend in Darlington, where he was found and arrested.

Mr Lamb said he relapsed into intravenous drug use and suffered a blood clot in the leg, as a result, leading him to spend a night in hospital.

He added that it was, “something of a relief” to Bamber to be back behind bars as he has no accommodation and means of supporting himself.

Judge James Adkin imposed a 32-month prison sentence and ordered forfeiture and confiscation of the heroin wrap.